A Supremely Ironic Moment in France

This is one to be savored…a prominent member of the highway robber brigade that is the French government has now been found to have squirreled money away in a bank account in Switzerland, after months of denials. What makes this event especially entertaining is that the man in his occupation as budget minister was the country's 'tax czar', whose job it was inter alia to enforce the draconian taxes imposed by the socialist government of Mr. Hollande and lead the 'fight against tax evasion' – the very tax evasion that is undoubtedly provoked by Hollande's schemes.

According to the Telegraph:

 

“Jérôme Cahuzac, who resigned as budget minister last month over tax fraud allegations, had denied "ever" possessing a foreign bank account before parliament, describing such allegations as "crazy" and "slanderous".

But the Socialist government's former "Monsieur Propre" (Mr Clean) on Tuesday admitted to having a "bank account abroad" for the past two decades.

"I met the two judges (leading the case) today. I confirmed the existence of this account and informed them that I had already given the necessary orders so that the funds on this account – around 600,000 euros (£509,000) – be repatriated to my account in Paris," Mr Cahuzac said in a statement. He asked for "forgiveness for the damage I have caused" the President and the government and offered his "sincere and deepest apologies" to the French.

The scandal has plunged the government into crisis. Seen as a pillar of the cabinet before his resignation, Mr Cahuzac, 60, was responsible for making drastic government spending cuts and leading the fight against tax evasion.”

 

(emphasis added)

Actually, we can understand why Mr. Cahuzac would want to escape the French taxman, but evidently things are a bit more complicated when he himself  actually is said taxman and charged with the imposition of rather draconian taxes. Here is what he says now:

 

I fought a terrible internal struggle to try and resolve the conflict between the duty to tell the truth, which I failed to uphold, and the desire to honor the missions entrusted to me," he said. "I was stuck in a spiral of lies and misled myself. I am devastated by remorse".

"To think that I could have avoided confronting my past that I wanted to believe was over and done with was an unforgivable fault. I will now face this reality with total transparency," he said.”

 

A terrible struggle! He only kept lying for the good of the nation! So he could 'honor the missions entrusted to him' (which among other things consisted of devising ways of swooping on other errant tax cows)!

OK, now that he finally got caught, he's going to be 'totally transparent' about it all. What a relief! Here is what he apparently said in a telephone conversation a few months earlier just before moving his money out of Switzerland into Singapore so as to make it less easy to trace:

 

“What bothers me is that I've still got this account open at UBS. UBS is not necessarily the most hidden of banks.”

 

Undoubtedly he was correct with regard to UBS…you never know which government might try to blackmail the bank next, it may even be the French. That would have been rather embarrassing.

Again, one cannot really fault Mr., Cahuzak for trying to hide some money from  – essentially himself. Maybe that also explains why he was eventually 'lying to himself' – he may have been subject to a psychotic episode a la Bob Arctor, the undercover cop in PK Dick's novel 'A Scanner Darkly', who gets the delicate job of spying on himself and soon loses sight of who he actually is. Maybe now that Cahuzak has caught himself lying to himself, he is going to engage in a spot of self-flagellation punishment-wise.

 


 

la lutte

Jérôme Cahuzac, tax enforcer – the sign says: “The battle against tax fraud

(Photo via zeit.de / archive)

 


 

In any case, these revelations have dealt the socialist government a blow, but apparently it is not giving up on its cherished taxation schemes. This happens in spite of the fact that the French economy is continuing to spiral down the drain with grim determination. As Mish reports here, after the constitutional council has struck down Hollande's 75% top tax rate, he has switched from his original plan of charging individuals with the tax to forcing companies to pay it! He could have just dropped the matter and said 'sorry, it's unconstitutional', but no. This reveals more than anything else that the motive is purely ideological – it is about punishing those the socialists think of as 'too rich'. As an aside, that the economy is going to hell is of course not something they accept as an unfortunate side effect of such policies. They don't think that punishing success will lead to less economic success. Instead they seem to genuinely believe that there is no such thing as economic laws and that the economy will basically 'follow orders' –  at least that is our impression of this bunch so far.

 


 

cahuzak-shortly-after

Cahuzak flashes a self-satisfied grin shortly after moving his money from Zurich to Singapore …

(Photo via AFP)

 


 

 

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8 Responses to “Fallen French ‘Tax Czar’ Embroiled in Tax Evasion Scandal”

  • Andrew Judd:

    One of the best stories to come out of France for a while. Thanks for bringing it to me otherwise i would have had no idea it happened.

  • Monty Capuletti:

    As they said on Seinfeld, “That’s Gold Jerry”..Indeed…Though not quite as good as the meth-peddling
    priest in CT…Truly the tides are moving out, revealing some ugly truths..

    What I find most worthwhile in this French taxman’s saga is the not-so-subtle message that the war on wealth has only just begun, and caught between the Scylla & Charibdes of Central Banks and Sovereign governments, those with savings are increasingly being squeezed into tighter and tighter quarters, until, expropriation (thank you Mr Hollande) is no longer subtle or considered, but ham-handed and malicious.

    What I see occurring is the gradual severing of the “regulatory capture” that many bloggers have highlighted repeatedly and has kept many a Bank/Financial executive from jail. But what Cyprus, and France, and Spain, and Germany & Netherlands now (to me) seem to be demonstrating is that the early sacrifices will be small, both retail and commercial, but as the dominos fall, and the many are demolished, the few (ie- the TBTF banks- as France, courtesy of Mr Hollande, has burned their industries alive) will lose leverage and “their” wealth will be confiscated in an increasingly brazen and hostile manner…Income taxes, financial transaction taxes, wealth taxes, cash transaction limits- these are all building into what will be a crescendo of theft and rule changes that will make today’s carnival seem trivial…

    • worldend666:

      Scary stuff Monti. Bordering on the lunatic fringe but reality is definitely stranger than fiction. Personally I can say the laughing and scoffing has subsided when I speak with friends these days.

  • No6:

    Politics sure does attract liars and cheats. Yet the public continues to vote for them!

  • Nothing like a crook attempting to play honest. If he were indeed honest instead of another political class thief, he would have told them to go to hell and moved out of France.

  • jimmyjames:

    Going by the pictures–those guys should all be thrown in jail just because of the way they look-

  • SavvyGuy:

    Every good politician is entitled to their Clinton moment!

  • worldend666:

    This really tickled me :)

    >>Again, one cannot really fault Mr., Cahuzak for trying to hide some money from – essentially himself. Maybe that also explains why he was eventually ‘lying to himself’

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